Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/14/2017
Doug Norrie
Boston Celtics guard Evan Turner, left, tries to block San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, right, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/15/17

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Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland’s late season stumbling and bumbling is well documented as they were able to lose the first seed in the East and with it home court advantage to the Celtics. That’s not a concern here, but could be if both teams reach the Conference Finals. The Caves rested Lebron over the last two games after playing him arguably insane minutes during the course of the regular season. The big story for the Caves (for DFS purposes) is the big three of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Lebron stands to see the most minutes of any player on this slate and probably has the highest floor. Barring a blowout (which hasn’t come easy for the Caves this season) Lebron likely pushes up to 40 minutes and is able to contribute in all facets. Irving has been more of a tournament play on his prices this year though will draw well below average D in Jeff Teague throughout the series. Love also finds himself in a plus matchup considering Thad Young’s value add for the Pacers isn’t on the defensive end.

On the Indy side of the ball, Paul George has played major minutes down the stretch run, logging close to 40 minutes on average over the short term. In their final regular season meeting, an OT game, George chucked up 33 shots and finished with an insane 43/9/9 line. That’s somewhat of an outlier, but it’s clear the Pacers will run him as much as needed in this series. Myles Turner is also in a good spot against a Cavs team who doesn’t defend the center position all that well. Jeff Teague gets Kyrie’s matador D, making him a value play as well.

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Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors

The Raptors come in as -7 favorites for this first game and got Kyle Lowry back from injury just in time for a playoff push. The Raptors are basically driven by Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan, with the latter coming as a very solid DFS value on FanDuel. While his usage isn’t quite as high with Lowry back in the mix for the Raptors, he should be able to exploit some of the Bucks wing defense. It’s safe to assume we see big minutes out of Derozan and Lowry (and likely Ibaka as well) but the rest of Toronto is a bit of a mystery. They haven’t been all that interested in running either Jonas Valanciunas or Demarre Carroll big minutes over the last month or so and both make for risky targets on this slate. We will likely learn quite a bit about Toronto’s rotations after this first game, but heading in it’s very speculative.

Meanwhile, the Bucks could really lean heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton for major, major run. We discussed as much on our podcast and speculated that we might even see low 40’s minutes out of the former. He’s coming off a fantastic season and the Bucks haven’t been shy about playing him major minutes. He’s expensive for sure, but few other players have as a high a minutes floor as ABC. The issue of course is variable performances even around the solid minutes. He only averaged about 13 shots per game over his last five or so games and that simply isn’t enough at these price points. He’ll need to shoulder more of the offensive load in this series. With pricing tight, I don’t mind Tony Snell and think you could get value on Malcolm Brogdon if Kidd commits to him at PG.

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Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs

The two late games on this slate feature four very good defensive teams. That could cloud some perception about the value we get from these games. From a DFS perspective, I think we are getting fantastic value on Kawhi Leonard even in the matchup against the Grizzlies. The Spurs are all coming in underpriced thanks to a volatile month of performances from them where they played in a lot of blowouts and sat players. Kawhi won’t have to deal with Tony Allen’ s defense and looks to have a dramatic minutes increase over his baseline considering it’s the playoffs. I see him as the premiere value on the slate which sounds nuts considering he’s facing the Grizzlies. But his mid tier prices and scoring upside (combined with the defensive contributions) make him a very safe cash play. The same can be said about the other Spurs like LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol who should see a lot of court time matchup up against the Memphis bigs in Marc Gasol and Z-Bo.

It’s a little unclear how the Grizzlies will go without Tony Allen. We likely see more minutes from James Ennis and Vince Carter at the two and three, though they have played a lot of different rotations this season. Carter is obviously more of an offensive threat and would make a solid punt play if he plays upwards of 30 minutes. From a mid tier perspective, this team is clearly in the hands of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol who even against the Spurs are values on this slate. Memphis will have to play both a ton.

 

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers

On such a small slate we will have to target at least some plays in what we would usually deem to be bad matchups. This is what happens in the playoffs. The teams that are left are actually good with the Nets and Suns of the world long gone from the schedule. Thankfully the sites have smoothed out the pricing with guys like Chris Paul who comes in as one of the best values on Saturday even with the matchup against the Jazz. Like a lot of folks in this write up tonight, Paul wasn’t forced to play huge minutes on the regular over the last month of the season. He will in this series and he will get arguably the worst defender for the Jazz starting five in George Hill. Expect a ton of on ball time for him here and his pricing gives him upside even with the bad matchup. Blake Griffin is interesting and DeAndre Jordan makes for a cheaper DK play even though he’s facing Gobert.

On the flip side, though the Clippers are a good defensive team, we are likely buying low on Gordon Hayward. LA struggles with wing defense and he should push minutes up to around 40 minutes in what could be one of the better series to watch in this opening round. We could see solid usage from Hayward here who did up his shots to about 20 per game when the Jazz were making a playoff seeding push two weeks ago. Expect the Jazz to lean on him here for scoring. As far as the rest of their rotations go, Rudy Gobert is a little overpriced because of his late season fantasy run and I’m taking a wait and see approach on how they play to use Derrick Favors.

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